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Moore to fight for spot

Crawford is 'Always Hawthorn' Superstar of the game Shane Crawford discusses his career at the Hawks and what 'Always Hawthorn' means to him.
Dylan Moore was one of Box Hill's shining lights in the 2018 finals series.  - Dylan Moore
Dylan Moore was one of Box Hill's shining lights in the 2018 finals series.

There was no certainty Dylan Moore was going to become an AFL footballer when the then-Eastern Ranges midfielder started the 2017 pre-season.

At 175cm and 66kg, no potential draftee can ever be certain about their prospects in a football era when big is considered better.

Moore – now a Hawk – chose not to give recruiters an option, between conversations with the Ranges' talent staff encouraging him to do more and his own determination to prove the critics wrong.

"I used to do cross-country on a Saturday then footy on a Sunday in winter, then athletics in the summer, so I've always had a pretty strong running base," the 19-year-old told AFL.com.au.

"In my top-age year, to get drafted I really had to become the best something, so I set myself on being the best endurance runner."

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Moore went on to win the 2km time trial and place second in the Yo-Yo test at last year's NAB AFL Draft Combine, then finished fourth in Hawthorn's time trial after finding a home at Waverley Park.

The football-specific credentials were there, too: All Australian selection as a midfielder-forward at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and Caulfield Grammar's best and fairest.

Even still, he slid down the draft order to Pick 67 before the Hawks swooped.

Moore's debut season on an AFL list built steadily to a VFL premiership crescendo that included him booting four goals in the preliminary final and three in the Grand Final.

"I always thought I was capable of standing out and having a breakout game, so it was good to do that in the finals with a bit more pressure on myself," he said.

"This pre-season I'm trying to get a bit bigger, put a few centimetres on in size, and hopefully that can lead into a good pre-season then hopefully an AFL debut.

"They always said you have to earn your stripes at Hawthorn and they're not just going to gift you a game, especially when I went down early with a shoulder injury, so that took time to get over.

"I didn't have the expectation to play (in the AFL in 2018). I just wanted to play some good footy and improve as a player – and I think I did that, particularly at the end of the season."

Where exactly Moore fits into the Hawks' thoughts for next year remains to be seen.

He is waiting to find out as well, given he said that information would determine whether he shadowed Isaac Smith or Luke Breust this summer.

Moore's slightness and goal-kicking flourish to end the VFL season suggest he is more likely to be blooded in attack.

Hawthorn's recruitment of Chad Wingard and Darren Minchington added to Moore's challenge, with Oliver Hanrahan another small forward aiming to break into the senior line-up next year.

"There'll be a little bit of competition, but it's always good because we work off each other and build off each other," he said.

"Then if we all have some good games, we can build those relationships together and hopefully a few of us crack into the side.

"If I start as a small forward, I'll focus on pressure and use my legs to get up and down the ground, then hopefully I'll transition into a midfielder."

 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs